Pretty in Pastel

April 4, 2014 at 8:00 am , by

Easter Eggs, sidewalk chalk, fresh flowers, pretty much everything we love about spring comes in a shade of pastel. And while these airy, delicate hues can be considered one of the oldest trends in the books this time of year, the look is coming back with a modern spin. Here, we picked ten pieces for every style personality, and trust us, you won’t feel the least bit haunted by the ghosts of your awful Easter dresses past.

Mint Soft Pleat Shorts

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We're a little green with envy for these comfy-looking accordion pleat shorts.

Buy it now, $64

In Defense of Decadent Holiday Foods

March 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm , by

We’ve seen quite a few stories this week offering tips for sticking with your diet during the spring holidays. But doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Easter and Passover are all about family time, fun and most importantly, food. Worrying about your waistline at Easter dinner or beating yourself up over indulging in a chocolate bunny can totally ruin it. “Food is intertwined in tradition and celebration, and that’s totally okay,” says Sally Kuzemchak, R.D., and frequent LHJ contributor. “It’s important to acknowledge these are special foods that mean something to us, and it’s good to enjoy them.”

Yes, exactly. We say forget the guilt and go for it (with some moderation, of course). Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your indulgences this week.

Savor your favorites. If you look forward to your sister-in-law’s famously rich macaroni and cheese on Easter every year, why change it? “I am not a fan of lightening up traditional foods or favorite family recipes,” Kuzemchak says. “Enjoy your favorites, but get back to your usual eating habits the next day.”

Save yourself for the right dessert. Eating too many Cadbury eggs or handfuls of jelly beans can make you feel gross and tired rather than satisfied. “Instead of pillaging the bowl of pastel M&M’s, save it for the homemade pie or allow yourself a good dark chocolate bar,” Kuzemchak says.

Drink to your health. ‘Tis the season for Manischewitz! If you indulged in the traditional four glasses at your family’s Seder, worry not. It’s just one day out of the year. “There are antioxidants in wine,” says Kuzemchak. “But moderate drinkers get the most benefits.”

Photo copyright Oksana2010, shutterstock.com

An Easter Salute To A Sweet Tradition

April 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm , by

Mom proudly displaying her creations - the hard cast did not stop her from keeping tradition.

Happy Good Friday to all those getting ready for Easter this weekend! In the spirit of a holiday with so many seemingly random symbols, like bunny suits, fluffy chicks, and copious amounts of jelly beans, I’d like to share one that’s particularly close to my heart. For as long as I can remember (and since long before my first Easter), my mom, Linda, has made the beautiful, personalized chocolate Easter eggs that you see pictured here. She uses the same mold today that she used the first time she made them back in 1969 (it was my Grandma’s originally and suffered an almost-fatal crack during Easter 2010).

My mom starts by  making chocolate half-shells using the mold, then fills them with fluffy chocolate in the center before encasing them with another half-shell and delicately piping each seam. Then she pipes the person’s name in script, on the front. The egg looks like something out of a storybook – anyone would celebrate if they were lucky enough to get one!

That Spring season of ‘69, my mom was raising money to visit her sister Susan, who was living in San Diego at the time (a pricey airfare for a young teen in Ohio). She decided to sell these eggs, which are as delicious as they are special, to family, friends, and neighbors in order to fund her cause. Talk about a nest egg! Not only did she make enough to buy her plane ticket, but she also made enough to enjoy her time in San Diego that summer.  She fondly remembers spending some of it at the movies to see Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate — the screening of which was stopped halfway through so she and the other movie patrons could watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon!

After the success of that first batch of Easter eggs, my mother made them every year following, and traded what was at first an entrepreneurial idea for what has become one of our most cherished holiday traditions. Mid-lent she prompts my sister and I for our ‘egg lists’ so that she can start the intricate assembling they require. And usually by the week of Palm Sunday we’ve each received an Easter-themed box from her, full of our friends’ and co-workers’ names inscribed perfectly in pastel shades on the shiny, molded chocolate. Anyone who has been lucky enough to be on my egg list in the past knows how incredible they are, whether you celebrate Easter or not, and this year is no exception.

Beyond just physically admiring these creations, I most admire what the eggs symbolize, and perhaps the symbol that gets lost in any holiday shuffle… the importance of spending that time connected to your family and friends.  It’s easy to equate the wealth of loved ones I’m fortunate enough to have when I look down at their names all in a row, penned in sugar.  So this Sunday, whether you’re at church, at home, or face-down in the food you banned yourself from eating after Fat Tuesday, remember the lesson my mom’s eggs annually remind me of: they started as a way to connect my mom with her sister, and today they still represent that connection -  between she and I, my own sister… and all the other eggs in our basket. Happy Easter, everyone!

An Easy Easter Centerpiece

April 1, 2010 at 11:35 am , by

Lilac Le Creuset Stoneware PitcherI’ve always been a big fan of Easter—any holiday that involves dyeing eggs and eating chocolate bunnies is A-okay with me. Plus, Cadbury Eggs! And bunny cakes! But hey, I’m not totally food-fixated. I also love that Easter coincides with the start of spring, when gorgeous flowers start springing up. For me that’s extra exciting because it signals the end of SAD-inducing winter weather. Seriously, it makes me almost this dorkily, dancing down the street happy.

I’m headed to New Orleans this weekend, but if I was hosting the holiday brunch this year, I’d snag this stoneware pitcher and fill it with flowers for a simple centerpiece.

I like color on the table, so I’d skip the more traditional lilies and go with a mix of deep plum tulips and sunny yellow daffodils. The pitcher’s lilac hue, new to the U.S., is totally feeding my purple addiction (check out the also new—and gorgeous—eggplant-y Cassis shade, above, on the rectangular baker). And at $25, it’s not too spendy—especially for Le Creuset, a brand known for making classic, lasts-forever pieces.

How will you be decorating your table for Easter?